Mauritians Protest ‘Failed’ Government Response to Wakashio Oil Spill
Tens of thousands
took to the streets in the southeastern region of Mauritius to show discontent
over the handling of the nation’s worst-ever environmental disaster after a
bulk carrier spilled fuel into the water last month.
Second large protest
It was the second
large protest since the Nagashiki Shipping Co.-owned MV Wakashio spilled about
1,000 tons of fuel into the pristine waters of Mauritius, and it shows rising
anger about the government’s role. On Aug. 29, protesters marched on the
streets of Mauritian capital Port Louis, blaming authorities for failing to
prevent a leakage that started almost two weeks after the ship hit a reef.
Black t-shirts with and “i am ashamed of my government.”
including residents from fishing villages marched and later converged at the
Mahebourg waterfront for a rally. They waved the national flag and most wore
black t-shirts, some with printed words; “i love my country” and “i am ashamed
of my government.”
Wakashio has shown how attached Mauritians are with the sea
to take appropriate decisions to stop the oil spill,” said Ashok Subron, one of
the organizers of the protests. “People rallied to protect the sea. Wakashio
has shown how attached Mauritians are with the sea and why they are angry. We
are challenging the regime and its policies.”
widespread pollution from the spill, with experts saying it may take as long as
a decade to clean up. The damage doesn’t bode well for a nation whose economy
relies on fishing and tourism and was already reeling from the coronavirus
ministry of Mauritius has completed an interim report that will serve as a
basis for further investigations, though it hasn’t been released publicly. The
government said it’s seeking compensation too.
that people want to show their anger against a disaster,” Joe Lesjongard,
president of the ruling Mouvement Socialiste Mauricien party said by phone.
“The government has put in place a police inquiry and a court of investigation
to situate responsibilities. We cannot draw conclusions” yet, he said.